During the first decade of the 2000s, a wave of violent social unrest shook the Tibetan Plateau. Chinese policies, often accused of human rights violation, headlined across the globe, in the same way it currently happens for Xinjiang, another autonomous region of The People's Republic. The dawn of the large scale social media revolution became a powerful platform to denounce infringements. However, according to Chinese officials, all actions taken were necessary to safeguard the unity of the state.

More than 20 years down the road, after the Dalai Lama stepped down from his political leadership, only to maintain the religious one, China further implemented its meticulous plan to connect the remotest corners of the country, as a way to strengthen its union. 

The “sinification” of the Tibetan plateau, initiated through the completion of the first railway line between Beijing and Lhasa, and carried on by the national and international initiative known as "Belt and Road," inaugurated a new era. 

The rise of Buddhism in popularity within the Chinese elite did not lift the severe control upon religious practice, but at least pushed the central government to review some of its more Maoist approaches. While the digital revolution, despite many restrictions, opened up a secluded Tibetan society to globalization and consumerism, wiping out centuries of ascetic isolation.

Early Tibet explorers described the plateau as a pristine place inhabited by hermits pursuing the Buddha way, and hustlers raiding the caravans crossing it. Nowadays, modern Tibetans are torn between the desire to preserve their historical identity, and the charming call of the dominant culture, leaving those within the diaspora to fight a political battle no longer resonating as it used to. 

Using Format